Blackjack Odds, House Edge & Probability Explained

Understanding blackjack odds is a key factor in beating the house when it comes to winning at 21. This classic casino card game has been around for decades, and at first glance, it could seem like a very basic and simple game where the goal is to get as close to 21 without going ‘bust.’ But, when you peer beneath the hood of the game, you will see a mechanism of math, probability, and strategic decisions – in this article, we’ll look at the best blackjack odds, house edge, probability, and other strategies for becoming a master at the game.

House Edge – What Is It?

The house edge is a term known in the gambling world to describe the edge that a house, sportsbook, or dealer has over a player. It is the percentage of each bet wagered that the casino, or ‘house’ expects to win over the long term. You can visualize it as the profit margin each casino gains from every casino game, ensuring that the casino always maintains an edge. 

It doesn’t mean that the player cannot win; it just means that the casino will come out in profit over a long enough sample size. The house edge is a crucial factor when players pick a casino game, impacting their chances of winning.

Not all games in a casino will have a house edge. For example, poker is commonly seen in casinos in both real life and online, but there is no house edge. In real money online poker, the casino or poker room makes money from the rake, and there is no house edge in play. This is not the same for Blackjack.

Las Atlantis blackjack

The House Edge in Blackjack Explained

Blackjack has a notably lower house edge compared to other casino games. On average, the house edge of Blackjack game is around 0.5% when players are using basic strategy. This means that for every $100 wagered, the casino makes 50 cents. This percentage can be altered by different rules or how a player approaches Blackjack. 

It’s also worth noting that the 0.5% house edge is only attained when a player uses the optimal strategy during their Blackjack play. Incorrect decisions can significantly increase the house’s edge.  Films like 21, which show a team of MIT students using card counting and perfect strategy to reduce the house edge, have popularized the attempts by players to win money in the game.

Dealer’s Bust Probability

In Blackjack odds, players can work out the dealer’s bust probability based on their upcard (the card showing), which can provide the player with a strategic edge. This probability shifts depending on whether the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17. We’ve put together a table below that gives you a detailed breakdown of the probability of the dealer going bust for each upcard, going from an Ace to 10. 

Dealer’s Card Probability when standing on 17 Probability when hitting on 17
Ace 17% 20%
2 35% 26%
3 37% 38%
4 40% 40%
5 42% 42%
6 42% 44%
7 26% 26%
8 24% 24%
9 23% 23%
10 23% 23%

Players Odds in Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games because it offers players favorable odds. The key to maximizing Blackjack odds lies in understanding the game’s mechanics and employing a winning strategy. At the forefront of basic Blackjack game strategy, you should act on the best actions based on the dealer’s upcard. If you do this, you can significantly boost your odds of winning Blackjack. This goes against the perception of Americans, 44% of whom believe that Blackjack is a game of pure luck rather than skill.

For the intelligent and ambitious, card counting can tilt the odds even more. This will further enhance the Return to Player (RTP). Getting into a Blackjack odds table or Blackjack odds chart can give you a simple insight into the game’s probability dynamics. You can also find tools online, like a Blackjack odds calculator, for assessing potential outcomes.

When playing online or in a casino, it is important to pick the games with the best payouts, as this directly impacts Blackjack winning odds. By combining strategy, an understanding of Blackjack odds through probabilities, and maximizing payouts, players can overcome house odds in Blackjack. 

We’ve put together a Blackjack odds chart below to show you the odds of you going bust after you have stood on your first two cards.

Player’s hand value Probability of busting
11 or lower 0%
12 31%
13 39%
14 56%
15 58%
16 62%
17 69%
18 77%
19 85%
20 92%
21 100%

The Odds of Winning Blackjack Explained

When going into the statistics of Blackjack, the odds of winning Blackjack are around 42%. This entails that over a long period, players have a 42% chance of beating the dealer in any given hand. The probability of losing is slightly higher, mainly due to the house’s inherent advantage and an 8.48% chance that a hand will result in a “push” or a tie. 

While these numbers give good insight, it is crucial to make note that Blackjack is not a game of fixed odds. Random chance impacts outcomes, making every hand unpredictable. Players can use tools like Blackjack odds charts or a Blackjack odds calculator to gain further knowledge and utilize a strategy, and these tools, coupled with a solid strategy, can tilt the Blackjack odds towards the player.

Odds of Winning Blackjack with Unfavorable Hands 

Just like in any card game, you can sometimes get bad cards. With strategic play, you can navigate these difficult sports to optimize your play and your odds of winning Blackjack. Knowing how to play blackjack properly, along with these tricky hands, can swing your hand from a loss to a potential win. Here are some ways to play some of the more unfavorable hands: 

  • Hard 16: This is the nightmare hand for all Blackjack players. If the dealer shows a 7 or higher, you should hit if the dealer is showing a 9, 10, or Ace, the odds lean towards standing. 
  • Hard 12: You should hit if the dealer shows a 2 or 3. If the dealer is showing between a 4 and a 6, stand but hit on a 7 or higher. 
  • Pairs of 4s: Avoid splitting, especially if the dealer has a 5 or 6. Instead, treat it as a hard 8 and hit. 
  • Soft 17 (Ace and 6): Always hit. This hand has a chance to improve but no chance of going bust. 

Blackjack is similar to poker in the way that you manage your bad hands. You can play free poker games to get used to them, and the more you learn and study how to play bad hands, you will heighten your expected value in these moments. By getting to grips with how to play these tough spots, you can boost your Blackjack odds with less-than-ideal hands. 

Blackjack dealer card sheet

The Basic Blackjack Strategy You Can Apply Now

Blackjack is a game where applied skill and strategy can boost your odds of winning Blackjack, from blackjack insurance to doubling down. The caveat to this is that basic Blackjack game strategy is played, which is a systematic approach that dictates the best and optimal moves players should make based on their cards and the dealer’s upcard. The strategy can be visualized in a Blackjack odds chart, which gives players a clear guide on what to do in various scenarios. 

Key strategies include:

  • Stand on 17: Especially a hard 17, as this heightens your Blackjack odds of winning. 
  • Double Down on 11: Double down when the dealer has an upcard between 2 and 10.
  • Split 8s and Aces: This is a perfect spot to split, especially when facing potential busting scenarios. 
  • Never Split 5s or 10s: Your Blackjack odds are better when treated as a hard 10 or hard 20. 
  • Soft 15 or 16: You should double down on these hands when facing a dealer’s 4 or 6.
  • Hard 10 or 11: A sweet spot to double down unless you are facing a 10 or Ace. 
  • Hard 9: Your odds of winning Blackjack get significantly boosted by doubling down versus the dealer’s 3 to 6.

Blackjack Payout

The allure of Blackjack comes with the pulse-raising possibility of hitting a natural Blackjack and getting a juicy payout. The odds of being dealt a Blackjack, which consists of an Ace and a 10-value card (10, Jack, Queen, or King), is approximately 4.8%. This probability is drawn from the combination of drawing an Ace (4 out of 52) and a 10-value card (16 out of 51 on the second draw). 

The payout for receiving Blackjack varies from casino to casino, and this changes the bottom line of the casino house edge. A typical and favorable payout you will find is 3:”, but some casinos, trying to gain an edge on the player, will offer 6:5 or even-money payouts. Players should be switched to these changes as they dramatically shift their odds of winning Blackjack. 

Here’s a table showing how these different Blackjack payouts affect the house edge:

Payout for Blackjack Blackjack House Edge
3:2 0.5%
6:5 1.9%
Even-Money 2.8%

Choosing the Right Blackjack Game

Blackjack has many changes and variations, offering players different options while altering the house edge drastically. Game selection is crucial in all kinds of games, just like if you were playing on a Bitcoin online poker site; you should always aim to sit at the table where you have the best win rate. Note that there are also casinos offering bitcoin Blackjack.

Not all Blackjack games are created equal, and some help the players while others aid the house. With the growth of the best online casinos, live Blackjack has jumped in popularity, offering real-time Blackjack with dealers. This can be fun, but players should always pay attention to the rules and structures surrounding these games. 

Here are some key considerations you should have when picking the right Blackjack game: 

  • Single Deck: The number of decks used in a game directly affects the house edge. The use of just one deck offers the most favorable odds to a player as the house edge grows with the more decks used.
  • Blackjack Pays 3:2: Always pick a game where the payout is 3:2 for Blackjack. Avoid any 6:5 or even-money payouts, as they boost the house edge. 
  • Dealer’s Action on Soft 17: Games where the dealer stands on a soft 17 are preferable, as hitting on a soft 17 gives the house more edge.
  • Doubling Rules: Play in games where you can double down on two cards after splitting, as this added flexibility boosts your winnings.
  • Surrender Option: This option is not too common in casinos anymore, but the option to surrender is good for players. It allows you to forfeit your hand and get half your bet back. 

While the allure of Blackjack is its simplicity and how easy it is to play, picking the best online Blackjack casinos is crucial. The casino always aims to make as much as possible from players, so being smart and switched on as to which games limit your edge is pivotal. By understanding the differences, you can optimize your Blackjack odds and have a better gaming experience. Note that many casinos also offer Blackjack apps to play on the go.


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